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Full text of "Practical Organic Chemistry"

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IN the former edition attention was drawn to certain
drawbacks which accompanied the study of practical organic
chemistry, among which the heavy duty on alcohol and the
unsatisfactory nature of the practical tests demanded by
public examining bodies were specially emphasised.
Teachers and students alike must welcome the changes which
have since taken place. An excise duty on alcohol used in the
laboratory is no longer exacted from students of science, and
substantial reforms have been introduced into practical examina-
One important feature in some of the new examination
regulations is the recognition of the candidate's signed record
of laboratory work. We are, in fact, beginning to discover an
inherent .defect in practical chemistry as an examination sub-
ject, namely, its resistance to compression into a compact
and convenient examination form.
The old and drastic method by which chemistry was made to
fit into a syllabus consisted in cutting out the core of the
subject, or in other words, in removing all the processes which
demanded time, skill, and some intelligence, and in reducing the
examination to a set of exercises in a kind of legerdemain. This
process has been to a large extent abandoned, but a residuum
of it s.till remains. It is to be hoped that the kind of practical
examination in organic chemistry, which consists in allotting
a few hours to the identification of a substance selected from
,a particular list, will in time be superseded or accompanied
by a scheme encouraging candidates to show, in addition
to tfceir note-books, evidence of skill and originality, as, for